Asylum Seekers and Refugees Have a Long Uphill Battle

Jan 21, 2016

Credit Creative Commons

The U.S. has two long traditions that have recently been battling for the public heart. We are a nation of immigrants, a melting pot, and we have a long history of welcoming refugees with open arms. But we also have another tradition, of locking down our borders from fear of outsiders.

The Texas Observer recently published a reminder of the long odds faced by asylum seekers and refugees who hope to find a home in America. Asylum seekers must be in the U.S. to apply for asylum, but they can’t work while they wait. The average wait for an interview is 18 months. Without a lawyer, an applicant’s case has a 90% chance of being denied.

Meanwhile, refugees don’t have it much easier. The U.S. only takes in .5% of the world’s refugees. And they must often wait over a year in refugee camps, in countries like Turkey or Jordan, to hear if their applications have been approved.

Credit Joanna Wojtkowiak / Texas Tribune